CHAPTER 17 | out

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📎A/N. Boo! For those of you who are out having fun on Halloween - be safe and have a great time. My Halloween plans were scuttled, as my home has been a hospital this week... with one son plastered with chicken pox, and the other having to keep his swollen foot elevated (possible damage to his ligaments or tendons). They both take man sickness to the next level... Hence my tardiness with posting CiNY and Buried.

...And more importantly... The Kiwi's are the 2015 Rugby World Champions! The only team to win back to back in the history of the tournament! The Australians played so well I was getting a little concerned when they closed the gap. It was a great game, and both teams did their countries proud!

Don't forget to vote if you like this chapter. It's really very easy...  just click the little star.

Take care and thanks for your support.

❤ ℳ

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"And then what happened?" Stephen asked as he popped another cereal nugget into his mouth. He reached into the box he had been clutching and frowned as his hand came out empty.

Sydney shuffled in her chair and took another sip of her coffee before she answered. "Well, needless to say, he was a little curious on how I could afford it. I can't believe they told him," she complained.

Stephen snorted. "Nonsense, it's about time someone in the train wreck of a family of yours, knew what you did for them," he paused as he reached for his juice. "So what little lie did you tell him?"

"I told him that once a year I threatened to leave my job. DB can't be bothered training someone else, so he keeps upping my salary to make me stay," she shrugged, then grinned. "You are looking at the most well-paid assistant in the history of assistants."

Stephen balked, "And he believed that lame excuse?"

"To be honest, I don't think so. But he didn't push the topic."

"What about Jackson," Stephen asked, "do you think he's changed? I'd hate to see you go through all that again."

Sydney considered his question. How did she feel? One part of her, the part that longed for family, wished it were true. However, the jaded, rational adult in her was dubious. She didn't want to set herself up for emotional failure. She had had enough of that to last a lifetime.

Sydney sat for a moment nursing her coffee cup and stared at 'I Love NY' emblazoned in red on its surface. She exhaled as she looked up at her friend, "I don't know."

"Hon, I love you dearly. But your family is a lost cause," he sighed as he rocked back on his chair.

She had no comeback for his comment. It was true, she just didn't want to accept it.

"While we've hit rock bottom," Stephen remarked, "what are you going to do about Penny dearest's bombshell?"

Sydney grimaced. Her eyes reflected the turmoil her mind was in. "After we had talked the subject to death, we kept on coming up with the same answer. Nothing. We can't do anything about it and have no idea where he is; Mother will only deny he's been in contact with her. The bottom line is that we have no real proof."

Sydney had churned the options available to them till the point she was sick of thinking about her mother's tackles slip. On top of what she was already going through, she didn't need to add another layer.

From an early age, Sydney had recognised her mother was cold and aloof. Unlike her Aunt Ivy, who was quick with a hug or a kiss to make her feel better, her mother had never been one to show any physical displays of maternal love. Had Sydney not spent a large portion of her childhood with Grace she would have considered her mother's behaviour normal.

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